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JCP&L Listens to Montville Residents’ Concerns But Provides No Answers Yet

Hope White

Thursday, June 12, 2014 • 2:05pm

MONTVILLE, NJ – At Montville Township’s Committee meeting on June 10, JCP&L representatives Adelaida Colon and John Anderson were present to hear the questions and concerns of residents regarding its Montville-Whippany Reinforcement Project. Since JCP&L has not made a final decision on the exact location of its proposed upgrades, these representatives were not in a position to field questions during the meeting. 

JCP&L’s recommended route for this upgrade project follows the existing path of the recently upgraded PSE&G service through Montville Township. However, there are alternate routes being considered that would take the lines through other areas of the township.

“We requested JCP&L to appear this evening recognizing there is confusion and concern regarding the upgrading of the JCP&L power lines in Parsippany and Montville,” Mayor Don Kostka said as he opened the meeting on Tuesday. “Some of the confusion is the result of hearsay and some through misunderstanding.”

Kostka went on to explain the Township’s current understanding of this project.

PJM, which is the Regional Transmission Organization, coordinates the movement of electricity and oversees transmission reliability in all or part of 13 states plus the District of Columbia.  They have determined this project should be built with a target completion date of June 2017.

The Montville-Whippany Reinforcement Project proposes to upgrade power lines through East Hanover, Parsippany and Montville and upgrade existing substations in Whippany and Montville.  The project will also upgrade existing power lines from 34.5-kilovolt to 230-kilovolt and pole heights will increase from approximately 60 feet to approximately 100 feet.

The Township understands the timeline of the project is as follows:

  • JCP&L will make a route recommendation to the NJ Board of Public Utilities (BPU) in the third quarter of 2014.
  • JCP&L does not plan to share their recommendation until they have been submitted to the NJ BPU.
  • Residents and the Township will have the right to object and be heard before the BPU once the application has been filed with the BPU.
  • NJ BPU will make the final determination in 2015.
  • Targeted completion date of the project is June 2017.

The Township Committee has previously corresponded with JCP&L about this project and have requested the lines be placed underground when possible, as well as requested JCP&L to follow the existing power line routes as closely as possible.

“This Governing Body wants to ensure the safety of our citizens, the reliability of electricity, with minimal impact on the effected residents and environment,” Kostka said.  “To that end, we again, in the strongest of terms, advocate for the lines to be placed underground whenever and wherever possible.”

During the meeting, at least a dozen Montville residents, including former Mayor Tim Braden, and each of the members of the Township Committee, voiced their questions and concerns about the proposed power line upgrade focusing mainly on the potential effect on the health of Montville residents living, working and attending school near the power lines, the impact on home property values, and environmental disturbances especially in areas not already impacted by the PSE&G power lines.

The Township recorded the questions raised during the meeting and will submit them to JCP&L, who advised it will respond to the questions in writing within two weeks.  

Residents can send additional questions for inclusion in the Township’s submission by email to JCPLQuestions@montvillenj.org or on the Township’s website by clicking here.  Both the questions and answers will be published on the Township’s website at www.montvillenj.org.

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